STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

Set Your Thermostat as High or Low as Comfort Allows

Simplicity:
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Carbon Impact:
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Money Savings:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
There are many ways to regulate your temperature. One way is with a heating or cooling system that is linked to a thermostat—a device that activates the system when the temperature passes a certain threshold temperature. As the one who gets to decide what this threshold temperature is, you personally have a great deal of control over your heating and cooling bill. By making sure you heat and cool just enough—and not too much—you can save money and also contribute to a more sustainable climate.

Tips & Tricks
In warm weather, the thermostat at home should be set at 78°. (Don't do this, of course, if it will cause health problems for anyone in your family.) When no one is home, set the thermostat at 85 degrees.

In cold weather, wear warm clothing and have your thermostat set to 68° or lower during the day and evening, health permitting. When you go to sleep at night, set the thermostat back to either 55 degrees, or turn it off. When you leave home for an extended time, set the thermostat at 55 degrees or turn it off, too.

Bundle up or strip down. If you’re a wee bit cold or hot, try the old-fashioned heating and cooling technique: put on a sweater to warm up, or take off a layer to cool down. Clothing is the simplest and most effective way to regulate your temperature.

Use a fan to cool down. Fans can have a cooling effect and help you cool down without having to use the air conditioner. This is known as the wind-chill effect, and results when moving air blows away the thin layer of warm air around your skin, making you feel colder.

Web & Print Resources
Thermostat guide:
www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/space_heating_cooling/

General energy saving tips:
www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/heating_cooling.html
www.energyquest.ca.gov/saving_energy/index.html
www.stillwaterpower.com/100tips.html

Fun Facts

By turning your thermostat back 10–15° for 8 hours while you’re asleep, you can save about 5–15% a year on your heating bill. Source

Heating and cooling systems in the U.S. together emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global climate change. They also generate about 12% of the nation's sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain. Source